Windows ultimate security-tools list
One of our most popular questions I get is what are my favourite utilities list, which includes some security tools.
However the collection of security-specific apps and services is huge. So I’ve decided to create my own ultimate security-tools list for your reference.
The list is comprehensive, but, of course, it’s far from complete. Everyone has his or her toolbox of favourites. That’s especially true for products such as password managers and browser add-ons.
A quick word about ad and tracking-site blockers: There are dozens of utilities that provide enhanced privacy in browsers. Most are free, so you can try various products and see what works best for you. Some differ in the number of browsers and operating systems they support, which can be important if you want to use the same tool on desktop and mobile devices. They also vary in their level of blocking and their ability to be customized. You’ll want to become familiar with their whitelist function. Typically, you’ll eventually settle on one or two and let them operate automatically in the background.
Securing our personal networks often doesn’t get the attention it should. We should all know by now about securing our routers by changing the default password and username, but there are other steps we can take, such as testing our firewalls and refreshing our IP address.
(Note: In the following lists, I’ve linked each product to its information / download page online. All products have been recommended by Windows Secrets contributors.)
My own favourite essential security utilities and Web Sites;
When I set up a new PC, here a list of the first utilities I like to install.
- Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (free/paid)
- Piriform CCleaner (free/paid; Windows Registry diagnostics and repair)
- 7-Zip (free; file compression/encryption)
- RoBoForm Password Safe (Paid – but worth every penny)
- Adblock Plus (free) – A classic tool for blocking ads, trackers, popups, and so forth. Versions for all major browsers.
- HackerWatch Probe (free) Firewall efficiency checker
- ShieldsUP (Gibson Research Corporation; free) – Firewall efficiency checker
On Demand Web Based Antivirus Scanners
- Microsoft Windows Defender Offline (free)
- Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (free)
- Microsoft Safety Scanner (free)
- ESET Online Virus Scanner (free)
- Trend Micro HouseCall (free)
- Quttera Free Online Website Malware Scanner
Online Password Checkers
- How secure is my password?
- How big is your haystack? (Gibson Research Corporation; free)
- Password Meter (free)
- Microsoft Safety & Security Center page (free)
Other Password Vaults – Both Free and Paid
- Siber Systems Roboform (free/paid) The BEST Password Manager in my opinion!
- AgileBits 1Password (paid)
- Dashlane (free)
- LastPass (free/paid)
- KeePass (free) – open-source
Advanced Security Tools and Sites
- Microsoft Autoruns (free) – An excellent tool for finding out what’s starting automatically in Windows. (For more info, see the Jan. 20, 2016, Best Utilities story, “Revisiting MS TechNet’s updated Autoruns utility.”)
- Microsoft Process Explorer (free) – Great for finding potentially malicious processes.
- HiJackthis (free) – A highly powerful classic tool for finding potential malware activity on Windows systems. Barebones, its reports can be difficult to decipher, and clicking the wrong entry could damage your OS.
- Virus Tracker (free) – Lets you enter a suspect IP address and see whether the site is known to host malware. Alternatives include CSI: Websense, IP Void, MX Toolbox, robotex, Sucuri, urlQuery, and many others.
So there you have it folks.. These lists of tools and sites are far from comprehensive, but they represent a good majority of the types of utilities I rely on to trouble shoot and fix issues with computers.
Be careful if you choose to use some of them – the utilities especially all have the potential to cause you grief if you don’t know what you’re doing. The lists are provided for those who frequently ask me questions about what I like to use and I can say I’ve used and/or tried everything listed. They have often proved invaluable to me.
I hope this helps.